Looking into a place to park | SummitDaily.com
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Looking into a place to park

SUMMIT COUNTY – Many local dog owners and animal welfare representatives feel there is no special place for the four-legged members of the community.

Installing an animal park in Summit County is not an easy process, although members of groups such as the League for Animals and People of the Summit (LAPS) are trying.

“Our status as a first-class vacation destination would be greatly enhanced by an animal park,” LAPS stated in its April newsletter. “Having a safe place for our furry friends to run free and enjoy the company of other animals is something LAPS should consider throwing its support behind.”



The article alludes to the possibility of having a dog park and a cat park. It also mentions Carter Park in Breckenridge as an existing outlet for dog owners to let their dogs off leash.

As local animal control officials point out, however, that Carter Park, while functioning as a public place where dog owners bring their dogs for off-leash exercise, is not designated for such a purpose.



“I think it’s 80 percent of the county that is public land, but there’s still an animal control regulation, and some people feel confined even with the voice and visual control requirement,” said Nancy Ring, LAPS advisor and supervisor of Summit County animal control and shelter. “Carter Park is (managed) by the town of Breckenridge, and they do their own enforcement. It’s my understanding they allow people that freedom informally. It’s not designated. In wilderness areas, (leash laws) are even more strict, and there’s more enforcement. There are people who want to be responsible and abide by the law and still be able to throw the Frisbee and throw the ball for their dogs, and they would only be in compliance to do that at a designated (animal park).”

LAPS officials contacted the Summit County Open Space and Trails department regarding an animal park, but open space representatives said they would need a lot more information before any consideration is given to the issue.

“In general, the county’s open space program and management plan is to protect our open space properties and keep lands at their undeveloped, natural character,” said Summit County open space and trails director Todd Robertson. “So, we don’t have ball fields; we don’t have playgrounds. I asked (LAPS) to identify what is meant by a dog park. I was picturing a six-foot chain-link fence with lots of signs, which wouldn’t fit in with keeping property in its natural character at all.”

Robertson suggested LAPS representatives talk to town officials (Breck, Silverthorne, Frisco and Dillon) about installing an animal park on town property. As far as county-owned properties, he mentioned that the area near the landfill between Dillon and Summit Cove might be a possibility.

Still, animal park advocates would like to see the development process come to fruition.

“I think it’s really important for people with dogs,” said Amy Courtney, LAPS board member. “Carter Park is great. It’s great socially for the dogs, and if nothing else, it’s just fun. When I think of a dog park, I think of something more contained, so people know what they’re getting into when they walk into the fence. Everything is becoming so non-dog-friendly anymore. It would be nice to have a place to go and let dogs run around where it’s not looked down upon.”

Any volunteers interested in getting involved in the process of developing an animal park in Summit County should contact Sally Beerup at (970) 262-0451.


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